MIAMI -

Preparing for a Championship Fighting Alliance MMA fight involves intense training. But for Fallon Fox, staying focused on Friday's semi-finals fight also means battling the noise, the controversy and the media attention following her headline-grabbing revelation: Fox is MMA's first openly transgender athlete.

"Especially now since this has been out in the media for a while, I find that I've gotten a lot more positive responses," said Fox. "Of course, we're always going to have some negative people out there who are bigots, but I just ignore them."

Born a man, Fox underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2006. She says the procedure puts her at a physical disadvantage in the woman's featherweight tournament in which she's competing on Friday.

"My testosterone level is lower than your average female," she said.

Standards for post-operative transgender athletes have already been established by the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee.

When Local 10's Christina Vazquez first spoke with Fox exclusively last March, she seemed a bit hesitant about her pioneering role in the combat-fighting industry.

Not now.

"I've embraced that. I like the fact that I can be the first transsexual MMA fighter and be a role model for those coming up," Fox said. "I'm just focusing on my fight, which helps a lot: concentrate on my next opponent."